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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

296      Material for Erewhon Revisited

would be at any trouble to restrain the present almost un-
bounded licence in the matter of suffering—a licence that
people take advantage of to make themselves as miserable as
they please, without so much as a thought for the feelings of
others. Hence, he maintained, the practice of putting dupes
in the same category as the physically diseased or the unlucky
was founded on the eternal and inherent nature of things, and
could no more be interfered with than the revolution of the
earth on its axis.

He said a good deal more to the same effect, and I was
beginning to wonder how much longer he would think it
necessary to insist on what was so obvious, when his hearers
began to differ from him. One dilated on the correlation
between pain and pleasure which ensured that neither could
be extinguished without the extinguishing along with it of
the other. Another said that throughout the animal and
vegetable worlds there was found what might be counted as
a system of rewards and punishments; this, he contended,
must cease to exist (and hence virtue must cease) if the pain
attaching to misconduct were less notoriously advertised.
Another maintained that the horror so freely expressed by
many at the sight of pain was as much selfish as not—and so on.

Let Erewhon be revisited by the son of the original writer—
let him hint that his father used to write the advertisements
for Mother Seigel's Syrup. He gradually worked his way up
to this from being a mere writer of penny tracts. [Dec. 1896.]

On reaching the country he finds that divine honours are
being paid him, churches erected to him, and a copious
mythology daily swelling, with accounts of the miracles he
had worked and all his sayings and doings. If any child got
hurt he used to kiss the place and it would get well at once.

Everything has been turned topsy-turvy in consequence of
his flight in the balloon being ascribed to miraculous agency.

Among other things, he had maintained that sermons
should be always preached by two people, one taking one side
and another the opposite, while a third summed up and the
congregation decided by a show of hands.

This system had been adopted and he goes to hear a sermon
On the Growing Habit of Careful Patient Investigation as
Encouraging Casuistry. [October 1897.]